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Improved Live Near Your Work Program Offers up to $18,500 Grant

The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) is launching its improved Live Near Your Work (LNYW) Program, which offers homebuying assistance to UMB employees while showing the University’s commitment to the community, with an informational kickoff event Thursday, Jan. 11, at 3 p.m. at the SMC Campus Center, Elm Ballroom A.

The LNYW Program is designed to open the door to homeownership and stabilize and revitalize targeted Southwest Baltimore neighborhoods, offering eligible UMB faculty and staff $16,000 in grants to use toward the down payment and closing costs for the purchase of homes in Barre Circle, Franklin Square, Hollins Market, Mount Clare, Pigtown/Washington Village, Poppleton, and Union Square. In addition, participants may be eligible to receive a matching grant of up to $2,500 from the city of Baltimore, and they may qualify for additional grants from programs outside of the University.

Purchasing a home in a qualifying neighborhood allows UMB employees to become involved in active and ever-growing communities; shorten lengthy commutes to work; live within walking distance of restaurants, stores, stadiums, and cultural centers; and choose from a variety of housing types, ranging from historic rowhouses to newly constructed condos.

To qualify, you must be a regular full- or part-time (50 percent FTE or more) faculty or staff employee who is in good standing, complete a homebuying counseling program, demonstrate creditworthiness, and contribute a minimum of $1,000 to the down payment.

You can find application instructions, program parameters, employee testimonials, neighborhood information, and more at the Live Near Your Work website. Applications open Jan. 29. Here is a list of upcoming events.

Program Kickoff

Thursday, Jan. 11, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., SMC Campus Center, Elm Ballroom A

This forum will provide an overview of the program’s parameters and qualification requirements and offer information about homebuying incentives from a panel of UMB officials and community partner organizations. Featured speakers include UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, and Chief Business and Finance Officer and Vice President Dawn M. Rhodes, MBA.

The panelists include Emily Kordish, LNYW Program coordinator, UMB Human Resource Services; Matthew Gregory, GO Northwest Housing Resource Center; Liz Koontz, Live Baltimore; and Michael Seipp, Southwest Partnership. In addition, information tables will be set up for more one-on-one discussion with Human Resources staff and community partner representatives. The kickoff event will feature light refreshments. To register for the event, click here.

Homebuying Workshops

Saturday, Jan. 20, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. SMC Campus Center, Room 351

Saturday, Feb. 3, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., SMC Campus Center, Room 351

Completing a homebuying workshop is the first of a two-step process toward earning a homeownership counseling certificate, which is required to qualify for the LNYW grants. The second step requires a private homeownership counseling session, which you can sign up for during this workshop, hosted by GO Northwest Housing Resource Center. Learn more about the counseling here.  Register for one of these homebuying sessions here. Employees only need to attend one session.

Live Baltimore Trolley Tour

Saturday, Jan. 27, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Starting at the SMC Campus Center and hosted by Live Baltimore, this narrated bus tour will take participants around local neighborhoods, including the ones that qualify for the LNYW Program. UMB employees can get a free ticket to this tour by registering and using the promo code umb1807. You can register for the tour here.

By attending the tour, you will have a chance to become eligible for a $5,000 grant toward the purchase of a home in the city through Live Baltimore’s Buying Into Baltimore incentive. Learn more about this incentive here and read a list of frequently asked questions.

Live Baltimore Education Sessions


Starting in March, Live Baltimore will be providing on-campus education sessions about homebuying incentives, living in the city of Baltimore, and more. Included in the schedule will be opportunities to meet one-on-one with Live Baltimore staff in an effort to customize the available homeownership programs to the buyer’s needs. Group sessions will offer a high-level overview of the homeownership programs and incentives available through the city of Baltimore and the state of Maryland. A schedule and more information on these sessions will be available in the coming weeks.

Applications Open

Jan. 29

Go to the LNYW website for application instructions.

— Lou Cortina



Lou CortinaGlobal & Community Engagement, UMB News, University AdministrationJanuary 9, 20180 comments
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Mentors Needed for UMB’s CURE Scholars Program

The UMB CURE Scholars Program is in need of UMB students, faculty, and staff to volunteer as mentors during the 2017-18 school year.

Consider becoming a mentor and nurturing the career of a future health care professional. Your knowledge and experience can make a huge impact on the life of a middle school student from West Baltimore, and the commitment will not require much of your time.

Mentors will be expected to:

  • Commit to at least one year of mentorship, with contact at least once a week or bi-weekly.
  • Assist their mentee with the transition from student to professional, supporting them in decisions (such as choosing the best high school or college).
  • Allow their mentee to shadow them at work or accompany them to a meeting, conference, or seminar.
  • Create goals for their own personal and professional development through participation in this program.

Those interested in becoming a mentor are invited to a Lunch & Learn on Thursday, Oct. 5, at noon in the Office of Procurement (Main Conference Room) in the Saratoga Building.

You can RSVP for The Lunch & Learn here and learn more about the CURE Scholars Program by checking out its web page.

To apply as a mentor, register here.

Do not hesitate to reach out with questions or concerns to Borndavid McCraw, UMB CURE Scholars Program mentoring coordinator, bmccraw@umaryland.edu.

Thank you for your support in cultivating a vibrant mentorship community!

Borndavid McCraw ABAE, BikeUMB, Community Service, Education, For B'more, People, Research, University LifeSeptember 28, 20170 comments
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CPA’s Fanning Named Employee of Month

The roles were reversed on Nov. 17 at an Employee of the Month event, and UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, was loving it.

“Who’s flashing?” he asked as photos were being taken. “Me, sorry,” Alex Likowski, director of media relations, said apologetically before a room of Communications and Public Affairs (CPA) staff.

“No, keep doing it,” Perman responded with a smile, “because that’s what she does to me.”

Patricia Fanning

Fanning receives award from Dr. Perman

“She” is Patricia Fanning, who as senior media relations specialist in CPA does a lot more than take Perman’s picture at events. UMB’s November Employee of the Month “is the hardest and longest working, most dedicated, and most caring employee any of us in CPA knows,” Likowski said in his nomination.

He spoke of the yeoman effort Fanning made in placing a series of stories involving the Renaissance Academy (RA) and student Khalil Bridges. RA sits in one of the city’s poorest, most violent neighborhoods. Before June, the headlines it earned were roundly tragic. Three of Renaissance’s students were killed during the last year — one of them stabbed in biology class. But RA also is a Promise Heights school, which means members of the School of Social Work (SSW) are in the school every day, lifting graduation rates and spirits.

Fanning’s years of work behind the scenes paid off last summer. The Sun ran “Renaissance Academy High grieves after three killings, still sees hope for future” and then a follow-up story about the aspirations of RA graduates. The Washington Post followed with “Coming of age in a city coming apart,” which also referenced Promise Heights and the SSW. Still not finished, Fanning helped SSW colleagues write letters to the editor that appeared in The Sun and The Post, continuing the momentum.

Then, on June 23, The Post ran “Soar Khalil Soar.” The story, about how Bridges graduated from RA last spring against heartbreaking odds, touched heartstrings and purse strings. Within a week, donations to a college fund set up for Khalil outstripped the $30,000 goal.

Fanning, who worked for The Sun for 23 years before coming to UMB in 2009, said she surmounted various obstacles in placing the RA stories.

“I remember coaxing Khalil, who just days before had turned 18, to speak to a TV crew awaiting an interview. That required impromptu media training, with encouragement from the SSW’s Community Schools coordinator, on a rowhouse stoop across the street from his school. Separately, I persuaded Khalil to retool his letter to Baltimore City Public Schools officials as a letter to the editor, which I placed in The Sun to raise his and UMB’s public profile.”

But doing what’s in her job description isn’t the only thing that makes Fanning stand out to her colleagues. It’s things like at 6:30 p.m. Friday, most of her co-workers long gone, getting ready to transport food that had been refrigerated after a University event earlier in the day to an extended family living nearby. What’s more, it’s her having helped three children in that family enroll in A Bridge to Academic Excellence, a tutoring program based at the School of Pharmacy (SOP). And it’s doing outreach for her Howard County neighbors as well as the West Baltimore neighbors she works with at UMB.

As Laura Kozak, MA, associate vice president in CPA, pointed out at the Employee of the Month ceremony, Fanning works with icepacks on her jaw right after dental surgery and staves off Lyme disease to finish assignments related to SSW and the School of Nursing (her previous beats) and to current duties of UMB community engagement, SOP, and the School of Dentistry.

So sure enough, after the Renaissance Academy series of stories had abated and the TV crews had left, Fanning went a step further. “I have continued to keep up with Khalil,” she says. “I went to Jo-Ann Fabric and made a scrapbook for his mom. Later I found one of my son’s childhood friends in Khalil’s chosen field who is now serving as a mentor.”

As Perman said at the ceremony, where Fanning received a plaque and $250 in her next paycheck, “Your colleagues nominated you because they see that when you do something, you’re all in. It means a lot to them and it means a lot to me because when you do something all in, you’re projecting how wonderful this institution is. You’ve done that over and over again.”

What does the award mean to Fanning?

“It’s a validation of the teamwork and relationships required to accomplish either personal or institutional goals,” she says. “The 2016 Promise Heights coverage actually began in 2014 with The Sun’s ‘Collateral Damage’ series that involved my connecting former colleagues at the paper with people at SSW and with West Baltimore residents whom I had come to know through Project Heights.”

And she’s not done contributing, be it at UMB or in Howard County, where she chairs outreach for her church, helps the homeless, assists Habitat for Humanity-related projects, and volunteers with the Parks Department at GreenFest.

She says it’s her way of saying thanks.

“Years ago after a horrific car accident, my life was spared by first responders and trauma surgeons. I’ve felt compelled to make good use of that gift ever since.”

— Chris Zang

Chris ZangABAE, Bulletin Board, Collaboration, Community Service, For B'more, Global & Community Engagement, People, UMB News, University Administration, University LifeDecember 2, 20161 comment
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thanksgiving baskets

Sponsor a Family for Thanksgiving

Departments or individuals can sponsor a family by collecting the items below to fill a Thanksgiving food basket.

Each Basket Should Include

  • 2 boxes of stuffing
  • 2 cans of cranberries
  • 2 boxes of mashed potatoes
  • 4 to 6 fresh sweet potatoes
  • 2 cans of gravy
  • 2 packages of rolls
  • 4 cans of vegetables (corn, peas, green beans, etc.)

*Turkeys and homemade desserts will be coordinated through the UMB Community Engagement Center.

Collection Drop-off

Monday, Nov. 7, through Friday, Nov. 18
UMB Community Engagement Center
Entrance at 870 W. Baltimore St.

Volunteer for a Basket Assembly

Monday, Nov. 21
UMB Community Engagement Center
Entrance at 870 W. Baltimore St.

For more information, or to volunteer, contact Brian Sturdivant.

Don’t Have Time to Shop?

Donate online through the Staff Senate giving page.

Claire MurphyBulletin Board, Collaboration, Community Service, For B'more, Global & Community Engagement, People, The UMB Dish, University LifeNovember 11, 20162 comments
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The Power of Volunteers

Pop Farm: A Study in the Power of Volunteers

Pop Farm is a community flower and vegetable garden located just a few blocks west of the UMB BioPark. One year ago there was only endless litter and rusting junk there; now, glorious sunflowers, aromatic herbs, and huge, healthy vegetables are growing in ordered rows, providing food and color for the local community.

About a year ago, a group of volunteers from the AIA (the American Institute of Architects) donated their time to remove trash and junk from what was then an overgrown and abandoned lot that had become a community eyesore.

Late this summer, on a hot, humid August day, a second group of AIA volunteers (Baltimore Chapter and national) returned to perform maintenance and to make several improvements to what has now become a lovely community garden that serves James McHenry Elementary School and the local Poppleton neighborhood.

The 11 AIA volunteers installed a Little Free Library on a mail post that will allow nearby residents to borrow and donate books. Volunteers cut the grass, weeded, trimmed back trees and removed overgrown vegetation. They also helped paint a new, colorful sign that cheerfully announces “Pop Farm” to all visitors walking by.

For those of us repeat AIA volunteers, it was an absolute joy to witness the transformation made possible through the power of the many volunteers over the past year who have made this minor miracle possible.

You Can Help – Get Involved

But then, many hands always make for light work. UMB consists of ~12,500 people, including staff, students, and faculty. Just think of how much more could be accomplished if more of us chose to donate even four hours per year to projects like this!

Please take advantage of any one of the numerous opportunities that our Office of Community Engagement arranges throughout the year. There is no more enjoyable way to invest just a bit of your time to make a huge, measurable difference in the larger community surrounding our UMB campus.

For more info regarding community volunteer opportunities, please contact Bill Joyner at wjoyner@umaryland.edu.

Photo above, from left to right: Tim Matthews, Zevi Thomas*, Ramiro Solorzano, Mildred Hodge, Anthony Consoli*, Kathleen Lane*, Lillian Dolley, Regina Heard, and Nathan Denies*.  Participants not pictured: Karen Ross, Shelita Masterson, and Bill Joyner.

Those marked with an “*” are members of the AIA Baltimore Chapter; other volunteers are members of the AIA National staff in Washington, D.C.

by Anthony Consoli
UMB Campus Architect & 2016 AIA Baltimore Chapter President

Anthony Consoli Collaboration, Community Service, For B'more, Global & Community Engagement, People, UMB Go Green, UMB News, University LifeOctober 19, 20160 comments
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Annual School Supply Drive

It’s school supply buying time again, which also means it’s time for the Staff Senate to begin our annual school supply drive!

The UMB Staff Senate’s Community Outreach Committee is collecting school supplies to distribute to UMB partner elementary schools within Baltimore’s West Side. Look for the blue collection totes in your building/school, or if you would like to host a tote in your building/school, please email Lois Warner. Donations also can be dropped off to Lois at 620 W. Lexington St., 2nd Floor, cubicle 2B05.

The last day to donate is Wednesday, Aug. 31. Don’t forget to take advantage of Maryland Tax-free Week, Aug. 14-20!

If you don’t have time to shop – the Staff Senate has an Community Outreach Funding page where you can make a secure donation (and receive a receipt).

Thank you and happy shopping!

The Staff Senate

Lois WarnerBulletin Board, Community Service, For B'more, Global & Community Engagement, People, UMB News, University Life, USGAAugust 29, 20160 comments
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Oral Care for the Underserved

The local school is more than just a place for educating kids. For many neighborhoods it is a de facto community center, providing social services, food and clothing, and basic health services for both students and families in need where there are no affordable alternatives in place.

At the Historic Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Elementary School in West Baltimore, a successful partnership between the University of Maryland School of Social Work (SSW) and School of Dentistry (SOD) has helped bridge the oral education and care gap in a community that has limited options when it comes to dentistry.

“Children have so many needs that dental care often gets swept under the rug,” said Clemencia Vargas, DDS, PhD, associate professor at SOD in the Department of Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry, “We didn’t see any signs of dental treatment on our first visit, and 40 percent of kids had active decay.”

Vargas’ career has included dental practice, research, and teaching in her native Colombia and the United States. Yet some of her greatest satisfaction and pride has come from organizing oral care outreach efforts for underserved schools, including a successful 10-year partnership with Wolfe Street Academy in East Baltimore. Samuel-Coleridge Taylor presented the types of challenges that Vargas has become familiar with in Baltimore City. In an effort to address oral health gaps, Vargas engaged in a collaboration with SSW through the Promise Heights initiative. This is a partnership between UMB and community-based nonprofits and faith-based organizations to improve the educational, social, health, and economic opportunities of children from birth to young adulthood.

In order to effectively implement this program, SSW employs an onsite facilitator at Samuel Coleridge Taylor – Angel Bettleyon, LSW – who serves as a mental health consultant at the DRU Judy Center located at the school, which serves families and children from birth to five years old. Given her first-hand experience working with the school community, Bettleyon is aware of how lack of dental care can have subtle effects on student behavior:

“If you have a terrible toothache, and if you can’t communicate that and nobody’s aware, then it will affect your performance.”

Over the first year, the Promise Heights initiative has made gradual progress in assisting parents to obtain oral care for their children, providing fluoridated toothpaste, toothbrushes, and cavity prevention kits to the students of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor elementary. In a community that’s often been ignored, building trust is an essential first step for families who may be wary of authority figures.

A major part of building trust is generating comfort between the student volunteers of SOD and children and parents. To this end, Promise Heights engaged in a “walking school bus” activity, in which SOD students dressed up in costumes, met with families and children, and walked with them to school. Bettleyon also helped to arrange two breakfasts – one in the spring and fall – between the dental volunteers and the students and parents at the school.

“Through these activities, the dental students are able to meet with the parents and chat with them in a different light, to see the parents as parents,” said Vargas.

In addition to engaging the community through activities like the walking school bus and the monthly breakfasts, SOD volunteers engaged in four screening events over the course of the year to provide oral health education and help parents settle into brushing routines with their kids. They distributed oral health starter kits to parents with children’s pajamas, a new book, a cavity prevention kit under a “Brush, Book, and Bed” initiative to help facilitate and support a consistent bedtime brushing routine.

“If parents are dealing with mental health issues, it impacts the way they respond to their children’s needs; and for others, it’s a lack of understanding or prioritizing other needs over a consistent routine,” said Bettleyon. “So many of these families were very thankful for the dental kits because it’s something they may not have been able to buy on their own, especially with their resources already being stretched so thin.”

Through the first year, the program has experienced progress: the number of signed consent forms has increased, and attendance has continued to rise at each of the educational events for parents held during the school year. As a result of this progress, Promise Heights received a second-year grant of $27,000 from the Thomas Wilson Sanitarium for Children of Baltimore City to continue provide education and screening services under the “No Cavities Here!” initiative.

Vargas credits the strong, steady leadership of the school for creating the type of environment that allowed “No Cavities Here!” to continue past its first year. For underserved schools, consistent leadership is often the difference between a successful intervention and a failed one, and Vargas credits Bettleyon, and Promise Heights in particular, for helping the program flourish.

“Angel Bettleyon is a fundamental piece. If we didn’t have her, we wouldn’t be able to work there,” Vargas said, “Promise Heights makes it easy, they have the connection with the community, they have the presence, and they are very pleased with the program. This program is succeeding because of how all of these have come together.”

Scott HeselABAE, Bulletin Board, Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Education, For B'more, Global & Community Engagement, People, UMB NewsAugust 12, 20160 comments
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Black Googler Network

Black Googler Network Outreach Event at UMB

Learn about computer science with Google on Saturday, Aug. 20, from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. We invite kindergarten through 12th grade students living in West Baltimore, their teachers, and family members to join us for a half-day event. We’ll have hands-on student activities to teach some basic concepts of computer science. For parents, there will be an expert panel of Black Googlers to discuss ways to prepare your students forewarding careers in the tech industry.

Black Googler Network (BGN) is made up of Black Google employees from around the world. We’re committed to enhancing diversity in the tech workforce and serving the Black community.

The event is completely free, but limited to 100 students.


Holly BaierCommunity Service, Global & Community Engagement, PeopleAugust 4, 20160 comments
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Promise Heights

Donorschoose.org Requests in Promise Heights

Two teachers, from Furman L. Templeton Academy in Promise Heights – a School of Social Work program in West Baltimore – have requested help for their classrooms from donorschoose.org and are seeking contributions to make their classroom dreams come true.

Ms. Woods wants to bring math to life for her 4th graders by purchasing some manipulatives for her classroom. Donate to her classroom.

Mrs. Benton wants to buy some iPads with cases and headphones so students can practice their reading, math, and research skills. Donate to her classroom.

These are time-limited requests—if they do not reach their goals by Sept. 12, then they do not receive the materials. The Gates Foundation and other donors often kick in toward the end, if the project appears to be getting close. This is one small way to pitch in to help in West Baltimore.

Matt Conn ABAE, Collaboration, Community Service, Education, For B'more, Global & Community Engagement, People, University Life, USGAJuly 19, 20160 comments
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Spring Community Festival

2016 West Baltimore Community Festival

Join the Center for Public Health Social Work Education and Training and the Community Engagement Center for a Spring Community Festival!

Event Details

April 16, 2016, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
University of Maryland BioPark
801 W. Baltimore St.
Baltimore, MD 21201

Festival Features

  • Blood pressure screenings
  • Legal advice for expungements
  • Mindfulness training
  • Health insurance information
  • Dental information and supplies
  • Fluoride treatments, and more

PLUS, for the Kids

Moonbounce, games, Taikwando, Zumba, hula hoop fun, balloon animals, and face painting!


Volunteers are needed to help staff the event. Please contact Ashlie Williams for more information on how you can help.

This event is sponsored by the USGA.

Ashlie WilliamsABAE, Bulletin Board, Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Education, For B'more, Global & Community Engagement, People, University Life, USGAApril 6, 20160 comments
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Events at Community Engagement Center

Don’t miss these Community Engagement Center sessions on working with Baltimore City Schools, forming a nonprofit board, and sustaining community projects.

All events take place at the Community Engagement Center – 870 W. Baltimore St.

Sustaining Community Projects Beyond the Academic Calendar

Monday, March 21 & 28 |  5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Participants will learn how to plan community engagement initiatives with impacts that extend beyond the course calendar.

Yan Ting WuCollaboration, Community Service, Education, For B'more, Global & Community Engagement, People, University LifeMarch 17, 20160 comments
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SSW Trauma Course

Public Health Social Work Scholars Organize Trauma Course

Students representing all schools at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) attended a minimester course, “Impact of Community Violence in West Baltimore,” on Jan 9-10. UMB’s Public Health Social Work scholars conducted the two-day program and will oversee carrying out a community service project, which is among requirements for the one-credit elective.

On Saturday, speakers included School of Social Work Professor Edward Pecukonis, PhD, MSW, who spoke about the importance of interprofessional work and SSW Professor Frederick Streider, PhD, MSSA, who gave an overview on trauma and the impact on people’s minds and bodies. Lawrence Brown, PhD, MA, assistant professor at Morgan State University, provided an historical context of trauma and violence in Baltimore.

Students later heard from two panels, one consisting of professors and professionals from across the campus talking about community violence and trauma in their fields and one of community members and community organizations sharing their experiences. Between the panels, the 63 UMB students and four guest registrants broke into small groups, allowing time to process and apply what they were learning.

On Sunday students heard from Lewis Smith, director, youth violence prevention, Baltimore City Health Department; Deputy Police Commissioner Darryl DeSousa; and mindfulness instructor Tawanna Kane.

Overall, Pecukonis  and Streider provided context for the ways in which trauma, grief, and violence harm those being raised or living in disenfranchised communities such as the impoverished neighborhoods of West Baltimore.

The scholars are (pictured above) Breanna Becker, Chinonye Donna Egbulem, Mara James, Sarah Sweeney, Lauren Whittaker and Ashlie Williams. Five of the six are dual MSW/MPH candidates, three at UMB and two at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. They are supported at the SSW by the UMB Center for Public Health Social Work Education and Training, whose program coordinator is Anastasia Booth, MPH.

Patricia Fanning Collaboration, Education, People, UMB News, University LifeJanuary 15, 20160 comments
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